Thursday, September 17, 2020

Pandemic Meditations: Disapproving Corgis by Ellen Welcker

For those of you just joining Pandemic Meditations, welcome. Once or twice a week for the next many months, poets, writers, actors, artists, illustrators, and perhaps a juggler or two will share creative works in response to the pandemic that we all find ourselves in. 

Today, poet Ellen Welcker joins the series. I'm not sure where I first met Ellen because she's simply just here in the way that trees are just here and one doesn't know when an acquaintanceship was forged. But I do remember her remembering me, and me remembering her, at an annual autumn run in which, at the end of the Sekani Trail in Spokane, each runner gets to choose a pumpkin. Ellen was there, and so was I. The annual run will not be held this year, but luckily, I recognize Ellen in her words, here.


Disapproving Corgis

by Ellen Welcker

Once upon a time a kid said, “can someone tell us a story?” A mother began telling one, though everyone wondered where it would go from here, and in truth so did the mother telling it. 

“Once upon a time a kid said, ‘can someone tell us a story?” the mother began, though everyone wondered where it would go, and in truth so did the mother telling it. 

One kid gave a little laugh, and the mother documented it, saying, “One kid gave a little laugh,” which made another kid laugh just to see if she herself would be written in, as it were. 

“This made the other kid laugh just to see if she herself would be written in, as it were,” said the mother. 

How long would this go on? Could anyone stand even one more minute? This the mother said aloud, and no one knew whether the mother was telling the story, or whether she had stopped. 

Was it even possible to stop? 

Disapproving Corgis is a Facebook group I have asked to be a part of, for obvious reasons. There are several pertinent questions, my responses to which their administrators are now weighing. I like their pants, the sassy little fluffernutters, and I like their spunk. When I lived on an island, every day I watched two very fast dogs, built for speed, sprint gleefully down the beach and tear back toward their humans, back and forth, back and forth, the way dogs do. There was a corgi, undeterred by stumpy legs and quintessential fluffiness that would race down the boardwalk and leap the five feet to the beach below--hit the sand with a thud. His legs moved faster than the dogs that ran faster, his body carving divots in the sand as he flew this way and that.

People on my block are done chalking the walks with messages of solidarity. You can’t help but see how done they are. The chalk messages, when they were new, made me love people but also flared an anger in me. The desire to positive-think it. To tell oneself a story, and one’s children. It feels like willful ignorance, something I am (too late) starting to recognize as whiteness. Something I see in myself. It’s hard to write about. I guess that’s why I put corgis in here. 

Corgis and bald eagles are both animals made symbolic by countries used to the sound of their own power. Corgis are historically inbred and royalty is too. Eagles are not bald but white-headed sky kings. One was shot in the beak and couldn’t hunt or eat. She should’ve died, but scientists 3-D printed her a prosthetic one and it worked; they named her Beauty. Now Beauty sits in old-growth branches, preening, keenly eagling with her yellow eyes. Beauty’s nests are the biggest nests. You can’t help but think of the money she’s on. It isn’t Beauty’s fault she’s grown synonymous with us. Our opportunistic natures, our white-headedness. 

This year almost none by the river, and why? We have no one to ask but our phones. 

Back and forth we run, back and forth. 

Is it even possible to stop?


Ellen Welcker
Ellen Welcker’s aesthetic inclinations range from engagement of the lyric to narrative and prose poems. Her work is concerned with ecological desperation, boundaries and borders, the parent-child relationship, and the concept of ‘deep humanity’ as an animal state. 

Her books include Ram Hands (Scablands Books, 2016), The Botanical Garden (2009 Astrophil Poetry Prize, Astrophil Press, 2010), and several chapbooks. She collaborates with artists across the spectrum and lives in Spokane, where she works for the Bagley Wright Lecture Series on Poetry and is a cofounder of Scablands Lit, an organization that supports writers and readers in the Inland Northwest. Learn more about her and her work at

❤ Find more Pandemic Meditations here: